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Our Bureau /
Banka : Converting barren lands into ideal cultivation fields for summer crops, many villagers of Rajoun block in Banka have scripted success stories.
Anita Devi, a native of Kushalpur hamlet under Rajoun PS in Banka had two great losses her life- she lost her husband in 1993 and two year after on 1995 the devastating floods deposited sand carpet on the cultivated fields of her family. With two kids, Anita Devi lost all hopes of survival at that time.
Like her many farmers in more than two dozens villages in the locality had to witness same situation after they lost the opportunity to cultivate paddy along with other crops on their fertile lands due to the sand carpets left by 1995 floods on their fields.
But after 18 long years, the villages like Kushalpur which was known as sandy hamlet, has changed lots and became popular for production of summer cops. Farmers like Anita Devi who virtually lost all hopes even for living, today pull their family smoothly. “Initially we don’t have any idea how to compensate the loss. We used to produce huge summer paddy along with other crops but the floods of 1995 had changed our fates,” recalled Uday Kumar Singh, a villager and president of 20 th point implementation committee, Rajoun block.
According to him till up to 2004 the conditions of the local farmers were very pitiable and many migrated to distant places in search of greener pastures. “By that time some people had started vegetable plantations along with cultivating water millions in small parts of the lands. Many had earned good amounts in water millions which motivated people to start large scale cultivations of water millions and such vegetables like loucy, cucumber, pumpkin etc which could grow even on sandy fields,” Singh pointed out.
“I earned not less than Rs 20-22 thousand on every season from my 1.5 bigha of fields from water millions besides the vegetables produced in another fields of 1.5 bigha also gave me huge profit,” Anandi Das, a farmer of nearby Amba village pointed out. Das’ wife, Sumitra Devi uses to sale the water millions on Bhagalpur-Hansdehia road’s side.
“It indeed surprise for us when traveling a long distance under the scorching sun, we really enjoyed the fresh water millions on the roadsides,” said Sourav Singh of Jamshedpur who recently came Bhagalpur with his family members to attain a marriage in his relation at Bhagalpur.
Most of the villagers alleged large scale governmental apathy and claimed that without any government helps the villagers have changed their fates with hard labours and dedications. “The areas lack water and no effort was taken for irrigational facilities. But since the crops like water millions, cucumbers etc does not required much water we focused on such crops,” Sunil Kumar a farmer in the village said.
The summer crops have changed the fate of the villagers; many villagers managed to provide better education to the wards and as a result from last 5-6 years, many students secured important jobs. Subodh Kumar Singh’s two sons, Amit and Sumit became engineer, Promod Singh’s son became sub inspector of police, Basant Singh’s son Rajiv selected in Indian air force, Bambam Singh’s son get a job of government teacher, Bangali Singh’s son get a job in India railway and like many of the sons of the farmers today became government job holders.
“Illegal lifting of sands from river Channan and other tributaries have posed a potent threat for the rivers which turned dried completely. We don’t have a single drop of irrigation from the rivers. The government should initiate for alternative irrigation facilities here so that we could grow more crops,” was the common demand of the people in the areas.
Rampant sand excavation from river beds poses serious threats not only for the survival of river in Banka districts but also dried up irrigation prospects to the cultivated fields in the respective catchment areas of the rivers. However, police from 2015 have started massive operations against the sand mafias at Banka and its some parts of bordering Bhagalpur districts, the illegal sand operation particularly in the region yet not been checked completely. “Due to such illegal excavation of sands from the river beds the river gradually receding and also lost its depths resulting adverse effects to the irrigational canals. In many places it became very tough job for us to pump out river water to our cultivated fields,” narrated Rampadarath Singh, a farmer at Banka. The irrigation problem also leads to a major problem for the Katarni paddy growers in the region.
Amid such grim scenarios of ecological imbalance of the rivers at Banka, the alternative venture initiated by the farmers to eke out livelihoods is indeed a press worthy work. But they should be patronized properly in terms of scientific farming followed by a suitable market strategy for the post harvesting of their summer crops.